Zenith Bank Deputy MD Grows Personal Stake in Bank by 77%

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Zenith Bank Plc has revealed that its Deputy Managing Director (DMD), Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu increased the number of shares he owns in the company by 77 per cent within a six month period.

Latest financial report of the bank said Onyeagwu who became the bank’s DMD in October 2016 from an executive director increased his stake to 5.5 million units from 3.1 million units held as at December 2016, to make him third on the list of directors who own the most shares in the international bank.

Onyeagwu’s investment will thus fetch him a reward of N1.375 million for the first half of this year as the board of directors of Zenith bank announced that it has approved the distribution of N7.85 billion to shareholders as interim dividend for the first half of 2017, last Thursday.

From the N7.85 billion to be distributed, an analysis by National Business Extra revealed that 10 of the bank’s 11 directors will receive a total of N748.2 million, 98 percent of which will go to the bank’s founder and Chairman Mr. Jim Ovia.

Mr Ovia will receive N736.5 million as interim dividend, being the director that has the highest stake in the company with 2.9 billion units of shares held, bringing Ovia’s investment in the bank to almost N70billion, as the stock’s last traded at N23.75 on Friday.

Meanwhile, National Business Extra’s further perusal into the bank’s half year audited report released to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) last week Thursday revealed that Zenith Bank Plc declared a profit of N75 billion for the first half of 2017, which represents an increase of 112.4 percent from N35.5 billion declared in the same period of 2016.

The bank’s report for the six months period ended 30th June 2017 showed that gross earnings rose by 77 percent to N380.4 billion compared to N214.8 billion recorded last year, while Net interest income improved by 9.4 percent to N138.96 billion from N127.02 billion.

The results further showed that the lender grew its profit before tax by 71 percent to N92.2 billion from N53.9 billion recorded in the same period of 2016 and paid N16.9 billion as the tax for the six month period.

The bank’s profit improved further on the back drop of a 23 percent increase in Fees and commission income that stood at N37.8 billion.

Trading income which was at a loss of N864 million a year ago also improved by 7,659 percent to N65.3 billion, while the bank recorded a 324 percent growth in operating income, which settled at N15.1 billion as at June 30, 2017.

Zenith Bank’s statement of financial position showed that Total Assets improved by 4 percent to N4.9 trillion from N4.7 trillion recorded in the same period of 2016.

Shareholders’ funds also closed 2.1 percent higher at N719.3 billion during the period under review as against N704.5 billion recorded for H1’16.

Following the impressive performance, the bank declared an interim dividend payment of 25 kobo per 50 kobo ordinary share, subject to appropriate withholding tax to be paid to shareholders whose names appear in the register of members as at the close of business on the 18th Day of August, 2017.

Zenith bank’s results showed the bank’s management demonstrated strength and resilience amidst a most challenging operating environment over the past two years.

The lender had told investors at its annual meeting in March that the bank would not relent in its commitment to delivering superior returns to its shareholders.

Ovia, who promised shareholders that the bank would continue to reward them accordingly, said in line with this commitment, the bank ensured that a good chunk of the profit was set aside for shareholders.

He stated that the bank had maintained a culture of outstanding performance and industry leadership even in the face of a very challenging operating environment.

“As a bank, we are monitoring developments both in the local and global economy and applying pragmatism and dynamism as appropriate.

Our strategy and approach to the pursuit of financial inclusion and sustainability gives us a lot of competitive advantage to explore even new frontiers in the market.”

The bank has however notified investors that its register of shareholders will be closed on the 21st Day of August, 2017 to enable registrars prepare for the payment of interim dividend, while Payment date for the dividend has been scheduled for 25th August, 2017 presented for ratification by the same as 25 kobo paid as interim and a final of 177 kobo per share from the retained earnings account as at 30 June, 2017.

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